Cornerstone Society Logo

WSU Cornerstone Society

The Cornerstone Society is a giving society that recognizes benefactors who have made cumulative gifts of $20,000 or more to the WSU Foundation.

In 2012, the WSU Foundation recognized the final Cornerstone inductees. We are profoundly grateful to honor all Cornerstone Society members whose generosity paved the way for future success.

As a lasting tribute, the Cornerstone Society Honor Roll occupies a prominent place in the main corridor of Somsen Hall.

Learn about some of these donors or see a list of all existing Cornerstone Society members. (PDF)

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Loren Benz graduated for WSU in 1971 with a B.A. in Business Administration. Loren is an assessor from Wabasha county and is actively involved in High School Athletics, officiating various sporting events for multiple years.

His wife, Deb, is a WSU alumnus as well earning her B.A in 1975 and her M.S. in 2007. She is currently the Purchasing Director at the Winona State Business Office. Loren and Deb are strong supporters of the university and have donated a bench on campus as well as established a scholarship for students who have declared a major in the WSU Health, Exercise and Rehabilitative Sciences Program.

Deb and Loren said, "WSU is an integral part of the Benz family - five are WSU alumni. We believe in education and hope our support makes a difference in the lives of students for generations.”

Vivian Fusillo taught at WSU for 47 years and served as the director of the WSU Children's Theatre. Fusillo received multiple awards and worked internationally at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in England, and Directed an Indian Poetry performance at the Museum of Anthropology in Canada.

Before George Bolon retired in 2010 as professor Emeritus, he served as Director of the Student Union and played a pioneering role in establishing the Composite Materials Engineering Program at WSU. He holds the highest FAA pilot and aircraft technician certificates and in 2009 was inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame as the only aviation educator to receive this honor.

The two are avid supporters of WSUs and, with a laugh George says he gives back WSU because, "Jim (Schmidt) made me do it."

William's nickname, Chops, came from the name of his father's friend who didn't make it home from WWII. Chops was very involved in athletics, particularly baseball, in high school and college. He also worked for National Geographic and is a renowned underwater photographer.

He and his wife, Diana, are very much about giving back to others. Together they established scholarships to help students achieve their academic goals. Chops said they give back because they like to "do something for someone else every day other than yourself expecting nothing in return."

Steve earned his BA in economics from Carleton College and is currently president of La Crosse Truck Center and vice president of River States Truck and Trailer, Inc.He currently serves on the WSU Foundation Board, and he its on the board of directors of Trust Point, Inc. as well as serving on their audit committee.

Steve competes in competitive horseback riding and horse shows. He is also an avid trail riding enthusiast and a member of a sports car club. Steve lives in LaCrescent, Minnesota with his wife Susan.

When asked why he gives he said, "I see it as a thoughtful way to honor the memory of my former wife who, as an educator, believed it was important to encourage a mentor future teacher candidates as they prepare for their chosen career path."

The late Richard Holle received his BA and MA in biology from WSU. He served in the US Army and majored in Chinese Mandarin Language at the Army Language Institute in California. He did post-graduate work with National Science Foundation grants at the University of California in Los Angeles.

Holle was a high school counselor and science teacher in California. He has served as Professor for a Day at WSU and donated a large collection of Chinese books to the WSU library.

His wife, Moonyeen remains a generous benefactor to Winona State University. "We have chosen to give back to WSU because we wish to make available to others and opportunity to have a warm and friendly educational relationship like we have always had with everyone at Winona State University."

Lorena W. Jacobson was born and raised in Rochester, MN. She received her BS in Education for the University of Minnesota and later received her MA in Education from WSU. Lorena taught mathematics for 35 years in Milwaukee Public Schools.

She established a scholarship for mathematics students and said, "I decided to help encourage good mathematicians to become math teachers by helping them out financially with a scholarship."

Steve Kohner attended Winona State University from 1964-1966. While at WSU, he played football and received the Northern Sun All-Conference Award in 1966. From 1967-1970, he served in the US Army. Steve and his wife, Candi are self-employed and own Modern Ready Mix.

As strong enthusiasts of the university, they contribute to scholarships as well as together projects and can be found at various Warrior Athletic games and events. Together they enjoy raising buffalo, hunting, fishing and spending time with their family. Candi said, "We choose to give back to WSU because we enjoy watching WSU athletic events and want to support the student athletes."

Michael Leaf was born and raised in Winona. After earning his bachelor's degree in elementary education from Saint Mary's University in 1983, Leaf furthered his education at WSU, graduating in 1985 with a BA in physical education and in 1989 with a MA in physical education.

Mike went on to an outstanding coaching career at WSU including the first ever NCAA Division II National Championships victory in 2006, and again in 2008.

He earned numerous regional coaching awards and during his tenure at WSU, his players have won many awards as well. Leaf was WSU's all-time leader on the coaches list for wins and in winning percentage.

Lee graduated from WSU in 1963 with a BA in English, and then worked at Winona State until he retired in 1995. Ione is also a WSU alumnus having earned her BA in social work in 1978 and worked as a Social Services Supervisor with Fillmore County.

As huge Warrior Athletics supporters, they enjoy cheering from the stands and even hold season tickets for Warrior Football. They said they give back to WSU because, "we want to help preserve and enhance the same high-quality WSU education that has enriched the lives and careers of three generations of our family."

Wally Madland received his BS from WSU in 1967. He taught four years, then returned to WSU full time in 1971 as a graduate assistant teaching in the physical education department, coaching wrestling and football.

After completing his Master's program in 1972, Wally served for eight years as an elementary and middle school principal in Wisconsin. Additionally, he taught instructional methods classes at UW Eau Claire, River Falls and Superior prior to joining the world of business in sales.

Wally's late wife, Joan, was a 1966 and 1968 alumnus of Winona State and changed children's lives every day for 24 years as a teacher. Wally gives back because, "it provides students with more than an education, it is a way of life."

Dr. Thomas E. Mauszycki graduated from WSU with a BA in physics in 1963. He worked many years as a dentist and is now enjoying retirement. Leone is a former trustee with the WSU Foundation. The two are avid supporters of the arts community including the Great River Shakespeare Festival, Beethoven Festival and various plays in Lanesboro.

The Mauszyckis have established a scholarship in their name through the WSU Foundation. When asked why they give, Thomas said, "Leone and I give back to WSU because education is the key to an individual's success. The benefits are immeasurable. Benefits that will foster the enjoyment and value of the arts, family, health and life."

Modern Ready Mix is the trusted source of mesh, expansion joint, and other concrete-related materials in Winona, MN. They are confident in their products and take pride in the services they offer.

As long-time supporters of Winona State University, owners Steve and Candi Kohner said, "We give back to WSU because we believe in community involvement and the students are our future."

Gerry & Patricia Neal established The Charles F. and Mary Jane Neal Scholarship as a permanently endowed fund in honor of Gerry's parents.

He says his parents always put their family first and while they didn't have the opportunity to graduate from college, they always insisted that their four boys would have a college education and their own personal success.

Gerry says they give back to WSU because, "we value education and know not all families are able to make the sacrifices our parents did to enable us to complete our college degrees."

Born on Oct. 3, 1925, Gerry was an athlete, a teacher, a coach, a licensed pilot, a true and loyal friend, and a leader. Even up to her senior year in high school Gerry did not think a college education was within her reach and then was asked to apply for scholarship to Winona Teacher's College. Four years later, she graduated with honors from Winona State Teacher's College with majors in physical education and English.

In 1950 Gerry began a teaching assistantship at the University of Colorado Boulder where she earned a master's degree. Her teaching career took her to the University of Utah, then to the University of Minnesota, Duluth and in 1958 back to Colorado for a full-time teaching position at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

After a voluntary leave to travel in Europe during the 1960-1961 school years, Gerry accepted an offer to teach at New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL.

Gerry passed away on July 10, 2008 at the age of 82.

Thomas Sawyer graduated from WSU in 1983 with a BA in physical education and in 1989 with a MS in education with an emphasis in physical education. He was an assistant coach for the Warriors before accepting the head coach position.

As head coach, he helped lead the Warriors to NSIC Championships in 1993 and 1994. The Warriors have played in the NCAA Division II playoffs five times under Sawyer as well as two Mineral Water Bowl appearances.

Connie Mettille is a 1991 graduate of WSU and teaches in the Health, Exercise and Rehabilitative service department. As former college athletes themselves, they believe it is important to give back, "with support of WSU alumni, family, and friends, we chose to attend Winona State University as student-athletes. Now it is our time to support the next generation of Warriors."

Linda graduated in 1978 from WSU with her BS in medical technology. With more than 30 years of experience in the laboratory setting, she works as an operations administrator at Mayo Clinic in developing an outreach program from a hospital laboratory.

Her husband, Michael W. Spiten, is a dentist in Kasson, MN and states, "what is good from Winona State University is also good from Winona as a community. Winona was our home as we grew up and we plan to make it our permanent residence in the near future."

Rosewayne M. Thiele was born April 29, 1921, in Houston, MN. She graduated from Houston High School and Winona State Teacher's College with continuing education at U.C.L.A. her teaching career spanned 37 years, seven of which were in Michigan and the remainder in Culver City, C.A. On June 22, 1949, she married Raph Lindsay who preceded her in death.

Rosewayne retired from teaching in 1979 where upon she returned to her family home in Houston, She married Ben Thiele of Eitzen, MN in 1980 and they maintained seasonal residences in Eitzen and Los Angeles until his death in 1990. Rosewayne passed away on Jan. 14, 2011 at 89 years old.

Judith "Judy" J. Whetstone was a Winona Native and married Gerald "Jerry" Whetstone on July 27, 1957. She taught for 28 years at Central Elementary School teaching 1st grade and retiring in 2002.

She had a zest for life and enjoyed playing tennis, biking, attending her flowers as well going to her beach house in Florida and playing as much tennis as possible. Judy was a pioneer for the grandparent program, affiliated with pen pals program, and always kept in touch with her students throughout their lives.

She was very gracious and giving towards others which is why her family continues to give in her memory. Her family says, "as a teacher, Judy significantly touched the lives and had so much to share with so many. We hope our gift is a legacy that fosters the love of learning."

Soo Young has her bachelor's degree from Korea. She chose to come to WSU because her fiance at the time was attending college in Wisconsin and Winona was located between the Twin Cities and her finance's college.

When she came to WSU, Soo Young had no money and was grateful for the scholarships she received. Soo Young has enormous pride and gratitude for her professors and for WSU and credits them with helping her to get to where she is today. "WSU has done so much for me; all of the good things I have today would not be possible without Winona State."

She went on to earn her PhD in Biochemistry from New York University in 1981.